Amber Venz Box, 30, parlayed her fashion blog into a tech business that has created $1 billion in sales for some of the nation's largest retailers. Her company, RewardStyle, was among the first platforms to help influencers get paid the big bucks for driving their followers' attention and wallets towards their favorite brands.
At the Iconic Tour in Los Angeles, Venz Box gave a glance into how the monetization platform for content creators grew into the retail disruptor it is today. In 2011, barely a year after Instagram was created, she founded RewardStyle with her then-boyfriend (now husband) Baxter Box. Together, they grew her the business to encompass a global network of thousands of influencers, driving sales to its 4,000 retail partners and more than 500,000 brands worldwide.
Here are the three best pieces of business advice Venz Box says have greatly influenced her career.
"Knowing what motivates all the players in my industry has been greatly helpful to me to understand how to build a business that solves real people's problem," Venz Box says.
For example, Venz Box was a personal shopper before founding her business. That experience helped her create the company's LIKEtoKNOW.it app in 2014. The app helps social media influencers be their fans' personal shoppers by making it easier for Instagram users to shop their favorite influencers' posts.
Looking back, she realizes the advantage it gave her.
"Working on all sides of the industry that you're in is going to lead to success," Venz Box says.
One of Venz Box's mentors told her, "If there's somebody on your team that can do something 80 percent as well as you, you should not being doing it," she says at the Iconic conference.
"Delegating has been something that's incredibly important and it also really forces you to think hard to build a really strong team," she says.
"It's very hard to delegate," Venz Box admits, but says having two young children has helped — now shifting around responsibilities makes things easier on her.
A piece of advice that has been invaluable to Venz Box is, "You don't want to be raking pebbles." In other words, when it comes to building a team, pick quality over quantity.
"I would rather have one really strong person than three junior people," Venz Box says.
She further emphasizes how focusing in on getting that one strong is especially important if you are strapped for resources.
"If you're at the place where you're a start up and money is tight, think about could you give just a little bit more to really build that strong team," Venz Box says.
So when looking to hire, Venz Box says, "you really want the heavy hitters."